President Donald Trump responds to the NY criminal investigation into the Trump Organization during a coronavirus briefing.
ALBANY – New York’s top legal officer is investigating whether President Donald Trump and his company illegally inflated the value of his properties to get tax breaks and better terms on loans and insurance, according to a new legal filing.
State Attorney General Letitia James filed a motion Friday seeking to compel the Trump Organization to comply with seven subpoenas at the center of a dispute with the company, including one that would require Executive Vice President Eric Trump — the president’s son — to testify.
The attorney general’s investigation focuses on four major Trump properties, including the 212-acre Seven Springs estate in northern Westchester County.
In court papers, James’ office revealed it is examining a 2015 conservation easement at the property with the nonprofit North American Land Trust, in which Trump pledged not to develop 159 acres of the property.
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Eric Trump, son of President Donald Trump, attends a ceremony for US golfer Tiger Woods in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, on May 6, 2019. (Photo: Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images)
Eric Trump hired an assessor to determine the value of the property, pegging it at $56 million. That allowed Trump to claim the value of the easement was $21 million, which he was able to deduct from his taxes.
Now, James’ office is investigating whether the property valuation — and, in turn, the deduction — was inflated, according to the court papers.
“(Office of the Attorney General) has not concluded its investigation and has not reached a determination regarding whether the facts identified to date establish violations of law,” the motion reads.
James’ investigation also focuses on Trump properties at 40 Wall Street in Manhattan, the Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago and the Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles, according to James’ office.
A Democrat, James and her predecessors have frequently clashed with Trump, a Republican.
Earlier this month, when James filed a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association, Trump called it a “terrible thing” and advised the NRA to move its charter to another state, which is not allowed while the investigation is ongoing.
This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.
Jon Campbell is a New York state government reporter for the USA TODAY Network. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @JonCampbellGAN.
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